Silver.Coated.Almonds.

Three words. Silver. Coated. Almonds. Oh this was going to be a great party all right, she thought, and popped one into her bright-red-lipsticked-mouth. She moved along the room smiling in the most ecstatic manner she knew, chit-chatting to this or that guest, this or that official, this or that colleague. Or ex-colleague. Or soon to be ex-colleague. Oh, she felt nauseous from it all. She was carefully avoiding those who knew. The worst was their emphatic glares, their words of consolation, their pity written all over their faces, sometimes real, mostly faked.  She took another glass of red wine. After an hour of walking around, looking as happy as she would have, had it been her day, force-smiling at all those “ignorami horribili”, her jaw started to be very painful.
She decided she could safely pick a corner and go rest a little, away from the crowd. Everybody had seen how graciously she took defeat, they had seen how cool she was; her honour was safe and she urgently needed a break back to reality.
She walked up the stairs to the gallery. Luckily it was empty. She went to the balcony and crouched by the railing. Her head was a little bit dizzy. She looked at the glass she was holding and could not remember how many of those she had had in the last two hours. Neither could she remember how many of the same she had had at home before coming to the party. She had felt compelled to. She had been left with no choice. She had to make sure she looked the exact opposite of how she felt. So far, she was quite pleased with herself.
She looked at the crowd below but the only person she saw was him! That bastard! That vicious bastard. That vicious manipulative bastard! That bast  … Look at him! I mean, just look at him! Strutting around like a rooster, … or better, like a cock. Pretentious little piece of turd. Thief. How could she have been so gullible! She had believed every word he had uttered, and there she was. He had taken everything from her. He had stolen everything and left her with nothing. That promotion was to be hers. It would have been the coronation of her 18 years of hard work. 18 years during which she gave it all she had and climbed the echelons one by one. Did all the extra-hours, formed everyone, made sure they never surpassed her, kicked one or two out when they became too dangerous. She gave up holidays, gave up dates, gave up life. Tonight was going to be her party. Tonight was what she had been waiting for her whole life. And that little shmock ruined it all. The all too classical tale of the gay son of the boss, who was never going to take over because the boss could not stand the imperfection of having a gay son, the two were not on speaking terms, she was there, she was told how irreplaceable she was, how needed she  was,  how simply the best she was.  She accepted it all, because she saw a bright future ahead. She probably overdid it at times, but always from a safe distance. All worked according to plan until the old idiot’s stroke. The change was as radical as it was damaging. Overnight he went from being a taciturn homophobic shrewd and tough businessman to being an oversensitive homophile wimp of a father. Son and father resumed their relationship. The son started to visit the office more and more, one thing leading naturally to the next; he charmed everyone, herself included, and there he was now. And there she was now. She was going to remain a meaningless employee for the rest of her life. She felt hatred like she had never felt before grow from her stomach. Her whole body convulsed. She had to find a solution. A solution as radical as that which brought the son back. She could have ripped his eyes out. She wanted to see him suffer. Actually she wanted to see them both suffer. She stood up, snatched another glass from a passing waiter, downed it in one go, called him back and took another. She looked down again and felt such deep scorn, it was consuming her. She had to do something.  She had to break his neck. She had to kill him. She would not be able to keep on living if he was going to be part of the same world. He had stolen the promotion she had been waiting for her whole existence, her entry ticket to the world of the ‘haves’. The injustice was so palpable, he had been born with that ticket, he did not even need it. He did not even care about the work. She took out her phone, made some calls. Straightened herself up. Straightened her hair, went to the ladies to re-organize her looks and lips before going back in the lion’s den to continue her tours. Between compliments to others and even to the object of her loss she thanked the champagne and the wine for enabling her to put out her best performance ever.

Silver-coated almonds were for births.

The next morning she showed up for work at 8.30 sharp, as usual. Perfectly dressed. No sign of the hang-over, no sign of the excesses of the night before. Perfect as always.
When she reached the building she saw a group of people talking in an agitated way. She recognized her colleagues. They seemed distraught, shocked, some were panicked. One of the women ran to her, crying abundantly. She took her hands, telling her: “oh my god, oh my god, you will have to be strong. This is terrible. You will not believe what happened. You were like family, you will have to be strong (…) murdered (…) brutally (…) the work of a sadist, homophobic, (…) tied to his chair (…)” etc. etc.
She pretended to wipe a tear off her delicately made up face. She tried to look resilient or what she thought a resilient face looks like. Inside she felt better than she had in a long time. There was her ticket. The world was hers again.

Smilingly she looked at the SMS she received in the morning: Silver-coated almonds: iced!

AlexSDavid

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